What soil to choose for the aquarium – sand, gravel, pebbles, nutritious for plants or black with prices

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In order for the aquarium to be safe, beautiful housing for fish and other pets, it is not worth using contaminated sand or clay as a filler. Soil for the aquarium is needed not only for beauty, because it is not so important whether it is black or white, how important it is that the bottom flooring must be safe, suitable for the growth of living plants. This is a kind of garden, which performs the function of decoration, helps maintain clean water, keeping various suspensions, provides fish with comfortable living conditions..

What is soil for an aquarium

Many beginners, in order to minimize the time spent on arranging, maintaining a paludarium or an aquarium, do not fill it with soil. Others in a creative impulse create real chaos, imposing more shells, balls, other accessories from the sale. Both paths are equally wrong. Aquarium soil is a kind of boiler in which the remains of food and excrement are decomposed with the help of bacteria and other microorganisms.

Functions of aquarium fillers:

  • substrate for the growth of living plants;
  • preparing good conditions for the development of beneficial bacteria;
  • purification and protection of water from the release of highly toxic substances;
  • elimination of unpleasant odor;
  • aesthetics.

What are the types of flooring:

  • flooring from natural components (sand, pebbles, gravel, crushed stone);
  • floorings, which are obtained as a result of mechanical or chemical processing (natural materials are used as the basis);
  • artificial flooring.

Nutrient soil for aquarium plants

Quartz sand for the aquarium

Sand is a popular species, because thanks to it, the conditions in the aquarium become very close to natural. Sand for the aquarium does not require much time for cleaning, because the waste can not get into the deep layers, it is easy to remove them from above, in addition, quartz sand provides soft water. Living plants easily take root in sandy soil, their root systems can quickly become stronger in it. Some types of fish prefer quartz sand, since it is involved in their digestion, perfect for fish – mink lovers.

A popular and inexpensive view is quartz sand:

  • Quartz Sand Biodesign.
  • The price in Moscow is 180 rubles for 4 liters, fractions from 1.2 to 3 mm.
  • The flooring serves as a mechanical filter, suitable for all types of fish. It becomes a great place to sleep, shelter and play..
  • Pros:
  1. The flooring is fine, but not too fine;
  2. Color – light, but not white;
  3. All particles rounded, no risk of damage.
  • Cons: to create good conditions, plants need the use of a nutrient substrate or top dressing.

But if you need an unusual, but natural sand color, you should pay attention to this option:

  • Sand UDeco River Light.
  • The price is 150-162 rubles for 2 liters.
  • Natural soil, its interesting color (light with amber) will be a wonderful aesthetic addition to the aquarium or terrarium. Fractions from 0.8 to 2 mm.
  • Pros:
  1. Inert to water, does not increase rigidity;
  2. The particle size is suitable for all fish, even small ones;
  3. Safe natural materials;
  4. Unusual color;
  5. Suitable for fish, reptiles.
  • Cons: not found.

Fine sand UDeco River Light in the aquarium

Pebbles for an aquarium

Often, pebbles are used as a substrate to give the aquarium a special charm. These river or sea stones are washed, laid on the bottom, so that they occupy about 5-6 cm in height. Pebbles for an aquarium are initially not saturated with bacteria, but after a short period of time it will be filled with excrement, will become a good soil for plants. In order for the fish pond to be filled with greenery, it is worth laying the bottom with a centimeter layer of red clay before laying the pebbles. When choosing this eco-friendly soil, you need to remember that when pumping garbage, difficulties can.

Pebbles come in different sizes and colors, for example, one of the most popular natural colors is yellow:

  • Pebble ground Polished, fine.
  • Price in Moscow 125 rubles per 1 kg.
  • Polished, small (size 20-40 mm), yellow. It can be used as a top layer on a nutrient layer, or as an independent flooring. It does not need additional processing and purification (boiling). Manufacturer – China.
  • Pros:
  1. It does no harm to bottom fish;
  2. All natural;
  3. Does not change the composition of water, does not increase its hardness;
  • Cons: not found.

Small pebbles, which will become a favorite flooring even for playful bottom fish, are presented in this version:

  • Eco-soil Pebble Relic No. 1.
  • Price 210 rubles for 3.5 kg.
  • The manufacturer selects the required fraction of pebbles using calibration. Packed filling is rinsed, processed, ready to use. The size of the pebbles is 2-5 mm. Can be used in saline and freshwater home ponds. Rinse before installation to avoid clouding of water.
  • Pros:
  1. Suitable for all types of fish;
  2. Non-toxic, safe material;
  3. Additionally, it is not painted;
  • Cons: not found.

Eco-soil Pebble Relic No. 1 per pack

Nutrient soil for aquarium plants

Floating vegetation on the surface of the water is suitable and a neutral substrate. But if it is planned to place aquatic flora with a root system, it is necessary that the soil is enriched, saturated with nutrients. Nutrient soil for aquarium plants affects the biological balance of the water space, because the health of the fish depends on the absence of harmful algae and the presence of a sufficient amount of “grass”. Such a flooring is sold in two forms – earth saturated with necessary elements or a nutrient substrate.

If you want living plants to be across the entire flooring area, it is worth considering a filler immediately enriched with nutrients:

  • Plant nutrient JBL Manado.
  • Price in Moscow 405-403 rubles for 1.5 liters.
  • This species does not reduce the level of water hardness, does not saturate it with toxins. Surface porosity helps to develop a large number of beneficial bacteria. It slows down the overly active growth of algae, removing excess fertilizer from the water. It has a red-brown color. Manufacturer – Germany.
  • Pros:
  1. Promotes the growth of the root system of plants;
  2. Good filtration of the filler-coated surface;
  3. Does not damage the antennae of bottom fish;
  • Cons: not found.

When there are only a few plants in the aquarium and it makes no sense to enrich the whole soil, use special top dressing:

  • Soil top dressing Dennerle NutriBasis 6in1.
  • Price 548-651 p. for 2.4 kg.
  • Chelate concentrate promotes the growth of strong leaves, quartz sand helps create a soil climate. The composition of the dressing includes natural humic acids (peat), which help plants absorb nutrients. Suitable for an aquarium of 50-70 liters. Manufacturer – Germany.
  • Pros:
  1. It is absolutely safe for all inhabitants;
  2. Nutrients can be used immediately, or found for a long time;
  • Cons: not found.

JBL Manado Plant Nutrient Pack


Given the decorative function of the substrate, the aquarium is designed to emphasize the beauty of the water “garden” and the fish living in it. As practice shows, black in the “home” for fish looks very profitable, because due to its color, contrasting fish look very bright. Any dirt will be more noticeable on a white background than on black or dark gray. Aquarium soil of black color can be natural (black quartz, granite chips) or painted (almost any kind, but you need to choose those brands whose product does not fade).

When choosing a black flooring, pay attention to German-made products:

  • Dennerle Crystal Quartz.
  • The price in Moscow is 979-1260 rubles for 4.92 kg.
  • Black filler, granules well rounded, safe for representatives of the water world. The flooring is perfect for a good development of vegetation. Fraction 0.7-1.2 mm. Bottom flooring for nano-aquariums. Manufacturer – Germany.
  • Pros:
  1. Resistance to CO2;
  2. Rounded particles;
  3. Natural color;
  4. It is neutral to water, does not change rigidity;
  5. Promotes the development of the root system of plants.
  • Cons: not found.

Cheaper options:

  • Hydor H2SHOW.
  • Price 432 p. over 5 kg.
  • High-quality painting, natural quartz. Well rounded, safe and comfortable for the inhabitants of a home reservoir. Designed for use with other decorations in the Water World concept, but can also be used separately.
  • Pros:
  1. Does not emit harmful substances, does not fade;
  2. Neutral, suitable for all water bodies..
  • Cons: not found.

Black soil Hydor H2SHOW in the palm of your hand

Gravel for the aquarium

Gravel looks very beneficial in a glass aquarium or terrarium. These pebbles are produced by machining from granite, basalt, feldspar and other minerals. Gravel for an aquarium is washed with warm water (it is forbidden to use chemical cleaners), gently mixing it is laid to the bottom. The filler must be rounded, as fish can get hurt by sharp corners. Aquarists recommend using gravel from 3 to 5 mm in size for flooring, or mixing pebbles of different sizes.

If you are tired of standard plain flooring, it is worth considering unpainted multi-colored gravel:

  • UDeco Canyon Colorful Gravel.
  • Price in Moscow 300 – 323 rubles for 2 liters.
  • A beautiful mixture of flat stones of different colors (brown, red and red-brown) and fractions (from small 2 mm to large 22 mm). A thorough flush is required before laying on the bottom. Manufacturer – Germany.
  • Pros:
  1. Not stained, not toxic;
  2. Does not contain limestone;
  • Cons: increases water hardness and acidity.

A good option at a reasonable price is multi-colored river gravel:

  • Eco soil gravel river.
  • Price 108 p. for 1 kg.
  • River gravel from 4 to 8 mm in size. Multi-colored (most of the pebbles are red, beige and dark brown).
  • Pros:
  1. Low cost;
  2. Well rounded stones;
  • Cons: not found.

River gravel Eco Soil in packing


The popularity of using soil for an aquarium of white color is related to its similarity to the color of the seabed. Definitely, the white filler looks unusual and advantageous. When choosing a light shade flooring, it is better to stay on quartz than marble, it remains white longer and is inert with respect to the chemical composition of water. In addition, fish excrement is often visible on white, which does not add to its aesthetics. Fish cannot “disguise themselves”, they become fearful and their color fades. Such soil must often be siphoned and cleaned..

If you decide to purchase a marble white filler, one of the best will be this option:

  • Laguna natural white marble.
  • The price in Moscow is 224 rubles per 2 kg.
  • Beautiful, snow-white, particle size from 5 to 8 mm. It is used in aqua design, suitable for salt and fresh water. Natural crumbs are packaged in a bag. Manufacturer – China.
  • Pros:
  1. Environmentally friendly product;
  2. Inert to water;
  • Cons: not found.

If the choice fell on granite, you can see the white filler of the same brand:

  • Laguna natural granite chips.
  • Price 453 p. over 2 kg.
  • Beautiful, snow-white, particle size from 2 to 4 mm. Manufacturer – China.
  • Pros:
  1. Ecological natural product;
  2. Safe for inhabitants of the aquatic world;
  3. Suitable for sea and fresh water;
  • Cons: not found.

Packing of natural granite chips Lagoon


Fans of bright aquariums often think about buying a flooring of saturated colors. But, as practice shows, colored soil for an aquarium is not the best choice in favor of fish health and the growth of aquatic organisms. Often, manufacturers use low-quality (sometimes toxic) dyes to stain particles, which cause big health problems for pets. But even if the soil is not harmful, then over time it loses saturation and becomes pale. Choosing bright soil, it is better to prefer natural rather than artificial materials.

An unusual mix of pebbles of different bright colors from the leader in the production of aquarium decor:

  • Color Mix, Gobleted, Barbus Gravel.
  • Price in Moscow 190 rubles for 3.5 kg.
  • Multi-colored bottom flooring made of artificial stone, at a very nice cost. The size of the pebbles is 10-20 mm. Well rounded, bright and unusual. Manufacturer – China.
  • Pros:
  1. Well rounded particles;
  2. Safe for plants;
  • Cons: not found.

In the expensive category, a good option is the red plain filler from Dennerle:

  • Dennerle Color Quartz Red.
  • Price 1020-1200 rubles for 4.92 kg.
  • Aquarium bottom flooring, red. Gravel, particle size 1-2 mm. Manufacturer – Germany.
  • Pros:
  1. Resistance to CO2;
  2. Rounded fine particles;
  3. Does not change color, does not stain water;
  4. It is neutral to water, does not change rigidity;
  5. Helps strengthen the root system of plants.
  • Cons: not found.

Red Quartz Soil Dennerle Color Quartz

Coral sand

For those lovers who decide to make a saltwater aquarium or cichlid, coral sand is perfect, but for freshwater fish living in soft water, such flooring is dangerous. Coral sand changes the chemical composition of water, increases its hardness and acidity, and contains lime. If you need a lot of useful algae in a mini-pond, you should not choose this type of soil, since shredded corals are not the best substrate for flora. But if pets prefer hard water, using such a flooring will not do harm.

Coral soil from natural corals is often gray, although it happens in large and small fractions. Coral sand presented by TM Laguna:

  • Laguna natural coral sand.
  • Price 360 ​​r. over 2 kg.
  • The particle size is from 0.8 to 1 mm. Manufacturer – China.
  • Pros:
  1. Environmentally friendly product;
  2. Safe for representatives of the marine world;
  3. Suitable for sea and fresh water.
  • Cons: gives a slight turbidity of the water, if not washed, requires frequent cleaning.

The baby has a large fraction, but consists of the same natural materials – corals:

  • Coral baby UDeco Sea Coral.
  • Price 517 p. for 2 l.
  • Unusual soil from the manufacturing company, fraction 1-2 mm. Has a porous surface, due to which beneficial bacteria develop on it.
  • Pros:
  1. The soil has already been washed by the manufacturer;
  2. Completely harmless;
  3. No dyes.
  4. Safe for fish, shrimp and other representatives of the aquatic world..
  • Cons: not detected.

Laguna Natural Coral Sand

Artificial ground

As the name implies, the basis of this flooring is not natural materials. As artificial soil for an aquarium, small particles of plastic, glass and polymers are often used. It has neutral properties with respect to water. It is not worth waiting for plants to grow lush green in such a flooring; in itself, it does not contribute to their growth. To improve the conditions for flora, artificial filler is often poured onto a base layer of another material. Bright colors of particles, glowing pebbles will become an adornment of any mini-pond.

Artificial filler has recently appeared on the market and so far is represented by only a few types, more similar to decor. In color Mix:

  • Decor Aqua Marbles Drops, BARBUS.
  • The price in Moscow is 61 rubles per 0.200 kg.
  • Unusual, large glass drops will add sophistication even to an ordinary aquarium. Granules are well-rounded, safe for the population of the aquarium. Fraction 16 mm. Packed in mesh.
  • Pros:
  1. Does not affect the chemical composition of water;
  2. Are safe;
  3. Bright colors.
  • Cons: not found.

Of the monophonic options, one of the most beautiful is blue:

  • Decor Aqua Marbles Balls, BARBUS.
  • Price in Moscow 79 rubles per 0.200 kg.
  • Blue balls made of transparent blue glass, well rounded and absolutely safe for fish. Fraction 16 mm. Packed in mesh.
  • pros
  1. does not affect the chemical composition of water;
  2. are safe;
  3. bright colors.
  • Cons: not found.

Decorative Glass Balls for Aquarium Aqua Marbles Drops, BARBUS

How to choose the soil for the aquarium

If the “housing” and fish purchased, it is time to start choosing flooring. Soil for plants in the aquarium, as well as for fish should have the necessary properties. The best aquarium filler is one that, in addition to aesthetic pleasure, helps the fish feel good, acts as a filter and becomes part of the biological system that allows the flora to develop. It is worth picking up the soil not only in color, but also in purpose, paying more attention to the characteristics and preferences of fish.

Criterias of choice:

  • the ideal particle size is 3-5 mm (sand may be of a smaller fraction, but care must be taken that it is not too small, otherwise any movement of the fish will raise a cloud of dust);
  • the bottom flooring needs to be filled up with a thickness of 3-7 cm, it is enough for normal plant growth;
  • if you are not sure about the purity and quality of the filler, before laying it can be boiled or treated with hydrochloric acid;
  • do not use red and orange soils; they release iron into the water;
  • it is more difficult to siphon and clean sand due to a too small fraction of particles;
  • pebbles and other pebbles should not be too large, otherwise the food will get stuck between them, decompose and at the same time badly affect the water;
  • stones, snags, branches should be without sharp corners, otherwise there is a risk that the fish will get hurt;
  • if you do not need a large amount of algae, instead of laying the nutrient layer, you can do with point top dressing;
  • the use of expanded clay as a filler is prohibited;
  • you can not use coral sand in freshwater “dwellings” with “soft-water” fish;
  • whites may eventually turn yellow, turn green or become brown;
  • you should not use shells and cockleshells as decor in an aquarium, they significantly increase the hardness of water and provoke the process of decay of the stuck write;
  • artificial avarium filler is not porous, it does not allow a sufficient number of beneficial bacteria to develop;
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